Trump withdraws US from Trans-Pacific Partnership, US dairy groups react

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

After abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NMPF and USDEC leaders called on President Trump to maintain the relationships US dairy has built with Mexico and Asia. ©iStock/gemphotography
After abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NMPF and USDEC leaders called on President Trump to maintain the relationships US dairy has built with Mexico and Asia. ©iStock/gemphotography

Related tags Dairy exports Milk International trade Dairy farming

President Donald J. Trump has signed off on an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a decision that could have negative implications for the US dairy industry, leaders from NMPF and USDEC warned.

“The U.S. dairy sector exports 15% of its milk production, or one day’s worth of milk production out of each week. In 2015, those exports were worth over $5bn and helped generate more than 120,000 jobs in dairy farming, manufacturing and related sectors,” ​Matt McKnight, acting chief of staff for USDEC, said.

The TPP was a trade agreement put together during the Obama administration and involved a dozen countries that border the Pacific Ocean, including major dairy producers Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand. The agreement would essentially create a single market economy for the trading of manufactured goods and agricultural products including dairy, but it had not yet come into effect because it had not been ratified by all 12 countries.

Trump called TPP a “potential disaster” ​for the US economy as he and several US labor groups said the deal would take away jobs from developed countries like the US because large companies would be more inclined to set up factories in less-developed countries with lower employee wages.

However, TPP would have required that participating less-developed countries abide by international labor laws, including implementing a minimum wage and safe working conditions.

US dairy groups urge Trump to protect trade relationships

Under TPP, US farmers would have benefitted from an increase in dairy exports as well as enjoyed the reduced taxes on those exports that would fall under the trade partnership.

According to NMPF and USDEC, Mexico represents the number one market for US dairy exports, totalling $1.2bn in 2016.

US dairy groups including NMPF and USDEC urged the Trump Administration to not retreat from TPP as it would protect the agricultural trade relationship between the US and Mexico, as well as grow US dairy influence in growing markets like Asia.

“While we recognize that TPP as it now stands has no path forward, we urge the Trump Administration to look for future opportunities to increase our dairy exports in Asia and around the world. Our competitors have been successfully negotiating trade agreements over the past several years. This puts the US agriculture sector at a competitive disadvantage if we don’t pursue our own initiatives,”​ NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern said.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership “was far from perfect, but was beneficial to the US dairy sector because in addition to new market access, it also made significant progress in focusing on other barriers, including sanitary/phytosanitary standards, as well as the abuse of geographical indications to block competition in common food categories,”​ McKnight said. 

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Milk is unsafe

Posted by Ardith Willner,

Cancer cells THRIVE in the presence of Casin...the main ingredient in cheese.

Manhy cows have infected utters, so puss goes into the milk that is collected....then cows are given antibiotics... and around and around we go.

Be Healthy, cut out dairy. Creating unhealthy food, and loosing jobs in that sector just means people will have to retrain for a new every other sector !!!! Life goes on, and changes come....there is a NEW paradigm at hand. Bette to plan for the change, than gripe about it ...people want to be healthy, and get off meds!!

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owner of family dairy farms

Posted by John,

We need to produce to domestic profitable demand. The export market is a deep dark hole we should not be persueing unless they pay us a profitable price for our. Milk.....

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